EL PASO, TX (NewsNation) — Over the past six months, the U.S. Department of State has urged Americans to avoid travel to parts of Mexico and to “reconsider travel” to 11 more amid fears of violence by criminal cartels across the country.
A renewed warning comes as the spring break season looms. Six states, including Tamaulipas, Sinaloa and Guerrero, are on the state department’s “do not travel” list due to the threat of crime and kidnapping.
Every border state in Mexico has at least a “reconsider travel” status, including the Baja California Sur area, which is home to Cabo, and the Quintana Roo area, which is home to Cancun, which are both popular spring break destinations for Americans — travelers are urged to “exercise increased caution.”
There has been a lot of cartel activity in Mexico, some of it coming on the heels of the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán, a leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel and son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
Most recently, a priest in western Mexico was shot and killed. In Tijuana, the threats of violence forced a band to cancel its concert.
Last month, Elliot Blair, a 33-year-old Orange County, California public defender, died while on vacation at a resort in Rosarito in the state of Baja California, the Los Angeles Times reported. His family believes he was killed under mysterious circumstances, while Mexican officials have called his death an accident.
Those who work in security said the efforts of Mexican law enforcement haven’t made much of a dent.
“There’s a lot of corruption in Mexico among officials, not just police, although police corruption is a major issue. There have been entire local, and even state-level police departments completely disbanded because of their corruption ties to local criminal organizations,” said Mike Ballard of the Global Guardian, a global security solutions company.
There have also been disputes in the state between Uber and Cabify drivers and taxi unions, which have turned violent and injured U.S. tourists, according to the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Mexico.
There have been recent years where more Americans have been murdered in Mexico than in all other countries combined — which is why U.S. officials are urging tourists to be very careful.